Federalism and security in the 21st Century

Christian Leuprecht, Mario Kölling

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


No level of government is equipped to confront the security challenges of the 21st century alone. As with other public matters, federations go about secu-rity differently from unitary systems. The latter merely have to contend with collective action problems created by the horizontal division of security and intelligence services. Federal states, by contrast, further have to contend with a vertical separation of security powers and forces across constituent units. On the one hand, federalism has an advantage over unitary security systems: the constitutional division of powers by levels of government checks the potential risks that security and intelligence powers pose for individual and collective freedoms through the structural and functional distribution of responsibilities (Burgess 2006). On the other hand, federalism poses a security risk precisely because it is thought to impede efficient decision making in matters of pub-lic security. When terrorist attacks occur in federal or decentralized countries, they usually precipitate calls for more coordinated and centralized action at the central and/ or European level of government (Riedl 2018).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBeyond Autonomy
Subtitle of host publicationPractical and Theoretical Challenges to 21st Century Federalism
EditorsTracy B. Fenwick, Andrew C. Banfield
Place of PublicationThe Netherlands
PublisherBrill Nijhoff
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9789004446755
ISBN (Print)9789004446748
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameStudies in Territorial and Cultural Diversity Governance
ISSN (Print)2213-2570


  • Federalism
  • federations
  • Security
  • 21st Century
  • intelligence services
  • Federal states
  • security powers


Dive into the research topics of 'Federalism and security in the 21st Century'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this